Lunar New Year: Chinatown and Darling Harbour Events Guide


The ‘Year of the Pig’ has arrived and with an overwhelming amount of Chinese New Year events to choose from, our NSM Discoverer Karien Tram went along to a few to bring you her reviews!


This was it! The Year of the Pig celebrations were underway, and it was our family’s chance to to go along and have some fun. Since dad needed the car to do a gruelling triathlon, the kids and I happily took the train into the city. With each child carrying their own backpack containing a water bottle, some snacks and an Opal card, we set off excitedly for our ‘trip into town’.

World Square

Our first destination was World Square, which is a short walk from Town Hall station. To our delight, World Square has 3 dancing pig statues that made for an excellent photo opportunity. In the middle of the square is a giant interactive screen, where visitors can ‘boogie’ with the 3 pigs! My daughter and I had a go at keeping up with the groovy dance moves, whilst my son looked on from a safe distance.

Once done dancing, we moved on to visit the three adorable real life piglets. We discovered that pigs are very intelligent but get bored easily which is why they get up to mischief. These little guys certainly made us smile!

  • What: World Square Interactive Screen and Meet the Piglets
  • Details: Open daily until Sunday 10 February, between 11am & 2pm (Meeet the Piglets and Interactive Screen), and 4pm & 7pm. Meet the three piglets is on Level 1, (opposite Din Tai Fung) free event. Café’s and toilets on each level.
  • More: World Square Lunar New Year

My daughter had a go at keeping up with the groovy dance moves

Once done dancing, we moved on to visit the three adorable real life piglets

Int the square is a giant interactive screen, where visitors can ‘boogie’ with the 3 pigs!


Chinatown

From World Square, we strolled over to vibrant Chinatown which is at short distance. Here we stopped for lunch and sat on a shaded terrace of one of the many eateries, soaking in the lively atmosphere. Soon enough, we were surrounded by a Lion dance performance! Traditionally, the ‘Lion’ dances from shop to shop, bringing good luck and prosperity to local businesses. Each business hangs a little parcel from their door entrance containing lettuce and a red packet filled with lucky money. The ‘Lion’ dances to the beat of the big drums, and performs impressive acrobatics to finally stand on its back legs to reach the parcel dangling from the doorway.

  • What: Lion dances and ChinaTown Night Market
  • Details: Lion Dances Friday 8 February – Sunday 10 February from 6pm till 7pm, with other shows through the day Chinatown night market, Fridays from 4pm till 11pm
  • More: ChinaTown Night Market, Lion Dancing Program

On the way to a a Lion dance performance

The lions and dragons dance to the beat of the big drums

It stands on its back legs to reach the parcel dangling from the doorway.

Crowds gathered to watch and listen to the colourful show


The Chinese Gardens of Friendship, Darling Harbour

After lunch, we walked over to the Chinese Gardens of Friendship which is a little oasis in the middle of the city and a stone throw from Chinatown. Outside the garden’s entrance, we admired the giant ‘Love me, Pig’ inflatable artwork by international artist Choi Jeong-Hwa which is displayed till 17/2. Here another Lion Dance group made an impressive performance.

As we entered the garden the children were given a red envelope containing a chocolate coin. We also received a trail map, to follow the trail, we had to read clues and find all the 12 Zodiac signs. We downloaded the app: ‘Emperor’s quest’ for this activity, it contained a story and quizzes and unlocked a picture as we completed the trail. Other free activities were on offer too, the children ‘bookmarked’ their hopes and dreams for 2019, witnessed a spell bounding performance by a Chinese magician and made pig masks and pig chatterboxes at the craft workshop.

Details:

  • Opening times: 9:30am till 5:30pm,
  • Family ticket: $15, Adult: $6, Child under 12: $3
  • Free Year of the Pig Kids Craft workshops: 11:30am – 2:30pm, weekends only
  • Chinese Dance Performance: Saturday 9 February- Sunday 17 February, 2pm – 2:30pm

More: Lunar New Year in Chinese Garden of Friendship

We admired the giant ‘Love me, Pig’ inflatable artwork by international artist Choi Jeong-Hwa

As we entered the garden the children were given a red envelope containing a chocolate coin

The children made pig masks and pig chatterboxes at the craft workshop

Here another Lion Dance group made an impressive performance

We watched the traditional, colourful performance in the gardens


Darling Harbour + Circular Quay

Once we left the gardens we stopped at the playground in Darling Harbour, always a winner, especially the waterpark where we cooled our feet before heading back home! This Saturday see the biggest Dragon Boat races in the Southern Hemisphere in Darling Harbour, or every day wander down to see the Chinese New Year Lantern Festival.

Then, don’t miss the giant Zodiac lanterns at Circular Quay. These are just wonderful and is like visiting Vivid without the massive crowds for a more child friendly experience! By surprise, we stumbled across the Rocks Lunar markets where you can enjoy some tasty Asian street food.

We stumbled across the Rocks Lunar markets where you can enjoy some tasty Asian street food

Like visiting Vivid without the massive crowds for a more child friendly experience

A wall of smiling pig faces at Circular Quay

Rabbit lanterns lighting up the night


For more ideas of things to do this weekend, visit What’s On: Weekend!

 

 

 


Karien is married mum of a boy (Chris, 9) and a girl (Michelle, 8). She worked as a flight attendant for 18 years in the UK, and currently works part-time in customer service at the Sydney Opera House. In her spare time, she runs the Social Committee at Wahroonga Public School and loves organising fun events. As a family, they love exploring Sydney and being active outdoors.

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